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Thursday, 31 May 2012

23 years ago today

My mother died.

It is one of those moments in life that changes everything and although at the time it was a shock, with hind sight I have had to accept that it was the perfect time for her to go.  She had arthritis which was beginning to progress to the stage where the things she really enjoyed doing were becoming impossible.  She had surrendered the garden to me several years before, but arthritis was starting to take away the ability to do needlework and play Bridge, which was her main social activity.

Fifteen years before she had a mastectomy because of breast cancer, though she did not have a recurrence and instead died of an aneurism.  She went out that morning to do a few things and I came home from work in the morning to find a friend driving her car into the drive.  She had been taken to the A & E department at the old Lymington Hospital and she died there a few hours later.  My only regret is that I wish I had understood that she was dying when I was allowed to go in and see her briefly when I got there.  Instead I made a joke about her making a nuisance of herself.  If I had known I would have taken a bit longer, though what I could have said I don't know; I love you and thanks, I guess.

Life rarely goes to plan, but there again I have never had much of a plan in the first place.  When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I assumed that I would be like my mother, have the mastectomy and go on living.  They ignored my comments about the pain in my hip and shoulder, and reassured me that with adjuvant chemo I had an 80% chance of being alive in 10 years time.  That changed a few months later when the onc finally looked at the x-ray taken in November (it was January by then) and realised that yes, I did have a bit of a problem!  Chances of being alive in 10 years...initially I was told six months, possibly a year.

What I have come to understand since then is that life is not measured, or lived, in terms of years.  It is measured and lived in days, in memories, and essentially in this very moment as I am breathing and typing this post.  Que cera, cera, whatever will be will there any point in looking forward to tomorrow when all we have is right now.  That is not to say that it is not good to have things and events to look forward to.  This weekend I am going to the English Music Festival, and there is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.  I hope to see the Queen when she comes through the New Forest in July, there is the Olympics in August, in September I am thinking of going to the Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay but none of these things have the focus that today has.  Tomorrow is another day, and another month, so I will just have to wait to see what it brings my way.

Whether or not you believe in God we all have to hope that we go at the right time as my mother did.  I don't know who said it, or who quoted the saying that 'One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name'.  I think it was Seb Coe or Robin Cousins in their autobiographies (both Olympic Gold medalists for the non-Brits reading this) but is applies to a complete nobody like me, as much as to someone who really did experience that one crowded hour.  I have not lived a crowded hour, and certainly not a glorious life but I have found contentment with today and that I firmly believe is actually the more important.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Diamond Jubilee

This weekend sees the main celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II, though of course it is also the Diamond Jubilee of Prince Philip who has supported HM so magnificently over the years, and who is frequently overlooked. 

Sixty years of service is an amazing achievement, and one from which the royal couple have never flinched through good times and bad.  It has involved a lot of sacrifices on their behalf; of time they should have had to themselves, time to be with their family, having to meet many wonderful people, and many they would not have personally chosen to have met.  Though it all they have done their duty which is something that the media certainly has not always understood.  Monarch isn't about headlines and the latest trend, it is about dignity and commitment to serve the country which she had done so day in and day out for over 60 years.  How many of us would have the commitment to emulate this?  How many of us put our own wants and desires before serving their country with such devotion?  Think of the self discipline of not showing you are having a bad day, and that you would rather be just about anywhere else.

She was the monarch when I was born, but my father was born two years after the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and lived during the reign of six monarchs.  I really can't imagine anyone else on the throne, I can't imagine singing God Save the King!  Just in case you haven't guessed, I am a royalist and would just like to say a heart felt Thank You Ma'am, and I hope you get to enjoy the celebrations as well as your subjects.

God save the Queen.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Are you kidneying me?

I am no closer to knowing what the problem is with the ureter of my left kidney.  This kidney is slightly enlarged, though the ultrasound scan results did show that I have some kidney stones (no kidneying, could have told them that) one about 6mm.  This problem has been showing up for quite a while, but it was only on the CT scan that I had on 28 March 2012 that it showed that it is actually effecting the kidney itself.

The CT scan was done while I was in hospital with an infection caused by my PICC line and I was told that it was important that I stay in to have a special scan the following Monday or Tuesday.  Then suddenly on the Saturday it was 'you can be discharged' as urology is not particularly interested.  Now two months later I will have the scan that they could have done then, and two months have been wasted to deal with a problem that the CT scan identified as possibly being 'disease', by which I assume them mean a progression of my cancer.

This hanging over my head, along with the probability of being made redundant from the place I have worked in since 1 October 1984 has been the root cause of my recent depression.  I have, however, almost certainly decided to take the voluntary redundancy package as I really don't want to work there any more.  However, who would employ me, in the current economic climate?  My employer already makes me apply for Special Leave to go for my cancer clinic and treatments, and now they are introducing a system whereby you have to have a meeting with your line manager if you have even one day off sick; so even if I did apply for one of the new roles on offer I really don't think they would give me any serious consideration.

In some ways I am relieved.  I don't like letting my colleagues down by being off work, and this is also having a detrimental effect on my health.  I need to be putting myself first and maybe this is the nudge that I need to do so.  After all I keep telling others that life is all about me, me, me, me, me.  Maybe I am actually the one who needs to be putting this into action!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Making space and recalling memories.

The bin men came this morning and they took about 5 bin liners of rubbish which I have been sorting out recently.  There is still more to go, and I have filled another bin liner today with stuff I really just don't need; and looking at it I can't quite understand why I have been keeping it all these years.

I went through all my old film photographs and their negatives and have chucked a lot of them.  Rubbish photos, so why keep them?  Mind you one thing that photographs do it to bring back a moment in time in a very unique way.  Truly a 'snap shot' of a moment.  I can remember were I was and what the weather was like in some cases.  One of my favourite photos is of Waylands Smithy(see left), a neolithic megalithic monument.  I remember the first time I walked out there, and how it seemed to be so far from the car park, how hot the day was, how dusty the ancient trackway that runs by it was, and how wonderfully cooling it was to be in the shade of the trees.  I love the way I managed to get a photo with the shadow of a tree branch going into the chamber.  It was quiet there and I was able to just wander around taking in the atmosphere of the place, and the magic of the moment as there is something so special about these monuments.  There are also a load of photos of Stonehenge as the sun came up on the Summer Solstice.  I remember walking along the road from the field where I was parked with a low pink tinged mist clinging to the ground with barrows sticking out of it every now and then.  I remember how warm the morning was when the sun came up, despite the earliness of the hour.

Ridding myself of unwanted things is something that I am finding quite liberating at the moment.  I have to strike while the iron is hot because when I am not in the right frame of mind I dither and then end up hanging on to too many things.  At the moment I feel the need to get rid of a lot of the junk which is cluttering up my life; things that really are blocking my existence rather than letting my life flow.  I feel the need to let go of some of the dreams that I have hung on to over the years, and replace them with memories that really matter and which remind me of what I do have, not what I wanted to have in my life.  Personally my Stage IV diagnosis has really helped me to do this.  It really made me focus on the present rather than regretting what didn't happen in the past, and the future that has yet to come.  I don't have time to waste on dreams, but I do have all the time in the world for special memories.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

What is Happiness?

I was talking to my acupuncturer (acupuncturist?) yesterday and we were discussing ways that I can start to get back on track a bit.  The subject of happiness came up and I have been thinking about this since then.

I said that, for me, happiness is made up of small things, and not big things.  Happiness is not a new car, or a possession.  Happiness is waking up to the birds singing the dawn chorus on a sunny late spring day, as I did this morning.  Happiness is practising Mindfull breathing and realising that right now, in this exact moment I am safe and secure.  The trick is to actually notice that you are actually happy and allowing that to register in your brain.

A lot of the things I have been reading are about changing the way that I think, about myself and my life.  I don't think that I have ever been convinced that I have the right to be happy, or that I could actually be happy.  It had actually surprised me that certainly since my Stage IV diagnosis there are those who think of me as a very positive person.  I am not sure that positive is the right choice of word; I would perhaps choose determined or just plain stubborn.  No one is going to sit there and tell me there is nothing that can be done to save my life, that the only route is palliative care, and expect me to accept it; especially when 'they' ignored test results, symptoms etc which meant that by the time they finally realised I was telling the truth it was already too late.

So what do you do then?

There are several options, but we all have to choose the one that suits us the best.  The one that we can actually follow in practice as well as theory; the one the feels right for us.  I was not prepared to accept that there was no way to save my life, although I was only 47 at the time.  I refuse to accept the modernist concept that science has the answers because there are too many things that scientists can't explain, and creating medical concoctions may have given us some things that work, but it has also given up a great deal that don't work, and those that do work all seem to have unwanted side effects some of which can be very dangerous.  Is the Power of the Human Mind stronger thatn the Power of Nature?  I think not.  I cannot tell if I would ever decide to have chemotherapy, but one thing I do know is that I want to try natural medicines first.  I want things that are going to help build my body up, and not indescriminately slaughter all in its path.

But living with cancer is more than just the medicines that you take and still being able to breath.  It envolves an holistic life on many levels.  It is most certainly about quality of life over quantity of life but being able to achieve Quality of Life is about more than the body working, it is about the heart, the mind, the spirit and maybe the ultimate Quality of Life is happiness.

Achieving this holistic survival is not easy, and it takes practice.  I have to remind myself to enjoy life rather than just plodding on day after day.  I can plod very well, but skipping, jumping and taking joy in being alive is not something that I do naturally.  It seems to me that happiness exists in a part of my brain that I don't utilise very often, so may be the way forward is to find a way to rewire my brain!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Sleepless in Lymington

My sleep pattern is completely shot at the moment; no doubt aided and abetted by the hot weather we have in the UK at the moment.  Have been getting to sleep about 3.30am recently, only to wake up about 5 hours later.  I stayed awake during the day today and hoped that going to be about 9pm I might sleep through, but two hours later I was up and wide awake.

So, I hear you ask, what has Vicki been doing in the last hour or so?  I just brought myself a Matstone masticating juicer.  What on earth is a masticating juicer?  It chews the fruit/veg to extract the juice, thereby preserving more of the enzymes and goodness of the juice.  I have been meaning to do this for ages, and just haven't got around to actually doing it but I was browsing the internet, while I can't sleep, and actually just did it.

I get an organic vegetable box every week from Riverford Organics, which is delivered to my door.  (Mental note to put out the boxes for the delivery later today).  However I have just not been getting around to using all of them, which is another motivation behind buying the juicer.  It will be a way of using up the vegetables without having to cook them, which will preserve more of the nutrients which are lost in the cooking process. 

I have to admit that with my present bout of depression I have not been eating properly.  I just can't really be bothered to cook and juicing may be a way of getting nutrients, enzymes etc in a more instant way because I also just don't have the enthusiasm to much my way through raw foods at the moment.  All I will need to do now is to actually make sure that I get round to using it.  But then I do need to get some sort of order back into my life, and I do know that eating properly is a very important part of the Plan For Life that I came up with when I was told that I had six months, possible a year to live (four and a half years ago) and that the hospital would only be giving palliative care. 

I had a friend who died of stomach cancer (liver secondaries) nearly 8 years ago.  I had gone to Bath to look after her for her first dose of palliative chemo, and ended up staying until she died a few months later.  The chemo nearly killed her partly, in my opinion, because she was taking so many pain killers that the chemo side effects just knocked her for six.  She was a pharmacy student and firmly believed that conventional medicine was the only path, although she had friends who had sent her information about various alternatives.  So when I was diagnosed as Stage IV I had some idea where to start looking for information to do something to help myself.

Too few people with cancer really appreciate how much they can do to help themself heal.  I am not silly enough to think that my Plan For Life will 'cure' me, but then none of this is about anything other that living in the moment.  This is something I am struggling with a bit as the bigger picture, at present, is rather overwhelming, hence the depression.  I am trying to over come this by doing some uncluttering of my surroundings.  I have four bin liners worth of stuff to go out already, some to the tip, but most for recycling or charity shops / bins.  I went through my wardrobe this morning a got rid of a bag full of clothes that can go to the Hampshire Air Ambulance bin.  I love the fact that it doesn't all have to be of resaleable quality as they sort it and the dross is sold for rags used in high quality paper making etc.  If I can get a bit of control over my surroundings, then maybe I can get a bit more of a grip on living the moment.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

All in the mind

I started reading Louise L Hay's 'You Can Heal Your Life' yesterday and although I haven't got very far with it the concept that you can turn things around by changing the way you think is an interesting one.  Of course, this is not the first time I have come across this theory, but the book has brought it back into my thoughts at a time when I am unsure about my future.

I have had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which is a similar concept, that my changing the way you think and do things that you can make positive changes in your life.  I would have to say that this is an approach that I have found very useful, but at the moment I don't feel as though I have much control over my thoughts, or feelings.

I also did a Mindfulness course last year which I found to be even more useful as it gives you a constant and simple technique to help you get control over your thoughts by bringing your attention back to your breathing.  One of the reasons I seem to have tipped over an edge a bit recently is that I had a bad chesty cough and cold which lasted several weeks and it is impossible to bring your attention back to your breath when all you can concentrate on is how badly you are wheezing, and how your concentration is broken by bad coughing fits.  The more I tried concentrating on my breath the worse it all got - wheeze, cough, cough, cough.

However the mind in a very powerful tool for anyone, but especially for a cancer patient.  Maybe the breathing problems have drawn me in to thinking too much about what is going wrong at the moment, when what I need to be able to focus on is what is going right at the moment.  I have never been the most positive of people, it is not a concept that I was brought up with and we are all influenced by our childhood and upbringing.  Remember how long it got for you to be 10; in double figures?  How long it was before you were a teenager, finished school, turned 18, became an adult, and turned 21.  Life seems to have accellerated from then, and as with most people I have come to wonder how I got to be 52 years old.  Remember how long the summer holidays were?  Now they are gone almost as soon as they started and for me I am haunted by the fact that my life has just gone by without really achieving anything or doing anything special.  I suppose that is one of the things that I find so hard to deal with in relation to being made redundant from my job.  I have worked at the same place since 1984 and until recently I always felt a loyalty to it, but I feel that has been broken.

I am faced with a 'life limiting disease' which affects many aspects of my life, including my mobility.  The cancer spread to my bones, and I have arthritis and back problems from the 20 years that I worked at the college as a cleaner.  I feel especially rejected by the college as there have been comments about the amount of time I have had off for medical reasons this academic year.  They seem to have forgotten that I did most of my job working from home just over two weeks after having total hip replacment surgery.  I have begun to think that is a contributory factor in getting the infection.  I put my job and the pressure on my colleagues before my health.  I didn't want to give my employer the burden of having to get a temp in to cover me, I wanted to save them money, and now my job is being made redundant.  I put them first, and now I realise that this was a misplaced loyalty and priority that I created.  The loyalty is now broken.

But can a positive frame of mind really attract positive things into your life on all levels?  I have never really like the whole being 'postive' theory.  I think it is oppressive as it makes you feel as though a single negative thought can bring the whole house of cards down on your head.  I prefer the idea of confidence.  Since my diagnosis I have tried to be more confident in myself and my own ability to contribute towards my healing.  This is not to say that I don't realise that this disease will probably kill me, but healing is a multifaceted thing.  I have tried to heal my past and let it go, and I do believe that to a great extent I have been successful in this.  I feel at peace with the past; regretful about things that have not gone especially well and what I haven't achieved in life, but it is too late to worry about that now.  Potentially I only have a few years left and I am determined not to waste them, and the healing of that part of my life has contributed to my continued survival.  Statistically I should have been dead a couple of years ago but I refuse to think of myself as just a statistic.

Having confidence in myself and trying to think confidently is the one thing I really need to get back in touch with.  It is about micromanagement of my life.  Basically one day at a time, the Mindfulness concept of living in this exact moment, because this is the only moment that we are actually ALIVE in.  Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery.

I can't remember who said that what we are all really scared of is the power that we have, and how wonderful each of us actually is (Maya Angelou?) and for me on so many levels this is true.  Because I was always told what a failure I was, and was going to be in my life, I really bought into that concept.  Maybe what I really fear is realising that I am wonderful and talented and a nice person because this is something that is new and foreign to my way of thinking.  So maybe it is time to try that way of thinking...

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Getting some order into my life

Why is it that when I try and tidy up and get some order into my surroundings that it seems to come back a bite me?  The more I tidy, the more there seems to be to tidy no matter how much I throw out.  I was really making headway with my 'office', where this computer is, and for a while I could actually see some desk top.  Now!  Pow!  It is all back with a vengence.

Part of it is the fact that I find it difficult to throw things away in the first place.  My parent's motto was 'keep it, it might come in useful', but I have a lot of things in this house which I have not touched since I moved here 18 years ago, and which I know will mean nothing to anyone else.  So why is it so hard to get rid of it?  Is it because getting rid of it means that I have been hanging on to useless things for too many years; and that it is not only useless things that I have been hanging on to either.  Is it because betting rid of it means accepting that I will not live forever?  Or is it the idea that I mean so little to everyone that no one will want to cherish the things that have meant a lot to me?  But does any of this really matter?

Isn't it really memories that mean the most?  It is memory that holds the meaning and value of an object, whether or not it has any intrinsic value.  It is memory that holds the dimension of bringing the object to life by giving it a time, place and emotion which makes it special.  The object is just the physical manifestation of the memory.

Getting rid of stuff also makes me feel guilty that I have accumulated more than I really need in life.  After all it is the memories that really have value, not the artifacts.

Not that all of this really helps me with my problem.  The first thing I need to decide is where do I start?

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Two bee, or not two bee

I made it to the Greener Spring Fair at Priestlands School and had a quick look round.  Spent a while at the Friends of the Earth stall talking to a colleague from work who was stationed there.  I signed their petition to try to get the government to do more to support Britain's bee population.  After all without bees it would cost British farmers £1.8 billion a year to pollinate their crops; a job currently done by bees at no cost.  Think of the impact that would have on food prices because a huge amount of the food we eat is reliant on bees to pollinate those crops.

Governments have long allowed chemical companies to pretty much do as they like; and what they like is profit.  Chemical companies have tried, and to a certain extent suceeded, to take over the world's agricultural economy, sometimes with disastrous consequences.  Farmer have to use the land that they have in the best way possible so that land will go on producing crops.  The type of soil that the farmer has pretty much dictates what can be grown and how it will be grown.  Farming in England is not the same as farming in South America.  The soil is different, the climate is different and the topography is different.  You can't farm the same way the world over, but the big chemical companies have been trying to force everyone to farm in the same way by using their expensive furtilisers, herbicides and insecticides.

The changes in the way that land is used, the loss of habitat, polution, insecticides, disease and the introduction of non-native plants and animals all have played a part in threatening the existence of bees, and many other species that are important to our ecosystem.  And that is without taking in to account Climate Change.

Our environment is one of the things that is poisoning us and contributing to diseases such as cancer.  Cancer has many causes and for me the way to deal with this disease also has to be multifaceted.  It is not just about conventional drugs and alternative therapies and a medical approach.  It is about the chemicals we use in our homes, that is in our food and the ways that we store and prepare that food.  We also need to take care of what we put on our body, as well as what we put in.  Evidently one of the most toxic perfumes is called Poison, and the parabens and other nastys in everyday products that we use for our personal care are also distrupting the hormones in our bodies, amongst other things.  These chemicals then get into the water supply so that even the water we drink is harming us.

We are dependent on this planet for our existence and the planet as we see it is largely the creation of humans.  We are the dominant species on this planet and have the greatest influence on its environment.  Maybe we should all be easier on the planet and not demand from it more than it has to give.  We all need to Bee kinder to it. 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Butterflies, flowers and depression

Today I have been finishing off the Thank You cards for my niece to send out to everyone who gave them gifts for their wedding.  Have done about 60 cards in all, and then it is up to Vicky and Trevor to get them sent off.  Vicky's wedding has been the one bright spot on my horizon recently and in a way I will miss having that as a focus as it is something so positive and optimistic, and makes me feel as though life can still move forward.

Today is the end of the first week of being signed off from work because my depression has got the better of me at the moment.  I went to the doctor on Monday and she signed me off for a month, and also wants me to increase my dosage of Prozac.  I haven't done that at the moment as I want to be able to do things to help myself to get some equilibrium back in my life.  I took the medical form in on Tuesday as I was going over to Brockenhurst anyway for a reflexology session.  I had a bit of a chat with my line manager, and also brought home some of my stuff as I don't see the point of leaving things there.  At the moment I really don't want to have to set foot in the place again, but I know that I will have to do so sometime.  I used to enjoy working there once upon a time, but now I realise that I have just been stupid to work so hard only to find myself facing redundancy.

Part of me doesn't really mind the idea of being thrown out of a job as I have come to realise that I am wasting my life working somewhere which really doesn't recognise that I work hard.  They have shown through this process of restructuring that they have no idea what we do in our team.  The whole place is becoming more about style than substance.

One main problem with being Stage IV is not knowing how long you have to live.  I have outlived the average for my diagnosis, and I am fast approaching the magical Five Years of living with a diagnosis of breast cancer which would have been Stage IV if they had listened to me about my symptoms.  In some ways I am doing very well, but my mobility is not so good as the left hip seems to have been effected by the infection that I had.  There again, I have not been able to get out and walk too much recently because of the wet weather and being at work, so that is one of my goals while I am not at work.

One suggestion that my line manager had was that I should write a book about living with Stage IV breast cancer, but I am not sure about that.  However it might be a way of getting myself to sort my thoughts and plans out a bit.  I feel as though I have lost focus recently and getting some order into my life might help.

Tomorrow I am hoping to get to a Green Living event taking place at a local school and see what they have on offer.  Maybe it will be a way to find something to fill my time when I am no longer working.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mr & Mrs Sheppard at last

Mr & Mrs Sheppard at last.  The little girl is now a married woman.  The sun shone and the bride was stunning, and even the groom scrubbed up well. Had a wonderful time and managed not to fluff the reading too noticably during the service. The bride and groom got the words right, even if it took a bit of coaching from the vicar. She came in to "When the Saints go marching in" and came out to "You'll never walk alone". Her father is a Southampton fan (the team being commonly known as the Saints) who have "When the Saints go marching in" is their anthem, and her husband is a Liverpool fan who have "You'll never walk alone". The organist was great, and probably glad to have something a bit more unusual to play, and the Bells as they left the church were a joy.

I was remembered in the speeches, and Vicky even called me a kind of second mother! That's my girl. I guess there has always been a special bond between us because of the shared name, and also the first time she came to stay at my house when she was a baby in a travel cot, the cot collapsed and she was trapped and went up and pulled her out and comforted her. Won't say more as I am about to cry.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Vicky's wedding day 12 May 2012

Was so tired last night that I actually slept, which is a blessing as that doesn't happen very often at the moment.  The sun is out, and it looks as though it is going to be a lovely day for a very special bride.

Yesterday I was tying ribbon on 160 Order of Service sheets and making 'reserved' cards for the family seats in the church.  In the evening we went over to Sway Social Club to start setting up the reception venue -
  • Sparkly dance floor in place - tick
  • Special lighting in place - tick
  • Decorative balloons in place - tick
  • Managed not to throw hissy fit when I realised that one of the special balloons with a bride bear in it was not for me, but for the little bride's maids - tick
  • Cake delivered and put in a safe place - tick
  • Took photos of cake with phone camera as it is gorgeous, hundreds of butterflies swirling up the three tiers - tick
  • Tables decorated - tick
  • Buffet table prepared for the food to arrive today - tick
  • Twinkling back drop for the 'top table' in place - tick
  • Family argument over how to place the 'top table' narrowly averted - tick
The wedding rehearsal was on Thursday evening and was slightly chaotic but the priest said it was fun not to have a wedding which has been endlessly planned to the last detail.  It was all chatter and laughter and we will just have to pray that it all goes right on the night, so to speak.  I am doing the readings and it was strange to have to stand up at the lecturn, so I hope I don't freeze later today, and don't get a coughing fit!  I am not used to 'public speaking' in any form.  I also get a place in the bridal procession coming out of the church because Trevor's mum died last year and my brother needs someone to go out with and Trevor is one of four boys, so there is no sister to take her mother's place.

So by the end of today Vicky will no longer have the same name as me (though I am Vicki), which is something that I have always loved.  She will be Vicky Sheppard, or more formally Mrs Trevor Sheppard.  I hope the Lord will bless their marriage, and the family they will have - tick.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Suddenly I feel very alone

I am feeling very 'shut down' at the moment.  I used to spend hours on forums, but they just don't seem to feel right for me any more.

My favourite was always Inspire, but I am now fed up with certain people jumping on me everytime that I mention anything that is natural, non-toxic, or is in any way 'alternative' that I really don't feel I can contribute any more.  When others go on about cyto-toxic chemo I don't post about the fact that it may only work for, say, 30% of patients with bad side effects thrown in free.  Inspire seems to have been taken over by some very narrow minded people, so I no longer find it inspiring.

I guess I am also a bit fed up with offering support to others, but never feel as though there is really any support for me.  Certainly in my life I feel that when things are not going to plan people distance themselves from me.  For instance the ladies I work with have the time and money to go clubbing together, but not to go out for a meal which could include me.  They arrange things and I am excluded, they go to lunch and I am excluded.  It is like being in a bubble.  I hardly dare mention my problems for fear of being further excluded.  Or is it just that, right now, I don't really know what I need and I feel as though I am drifting.

Last week I got the news that I am at 'risk of redundancy'.  I find that I no longer really care about the place where I have worked since 1984 as it seems to have become a souless place that has rather forgotten the reason for its existence.  I can't exactly see what they are trying to do, or what I would be trying to fit into if I decided to go for any of the new jobs.  The ones that are nearest to what I do now are basically half the hours that I do at present and would be in the early evening.  I already feel isolated enough because I live on my own, and part of the reason I liked my job was that it gave me contact with people; but this would mean being pretty much on my own at work as well.  It would also mean working until about 7.30pm so I would have no social life.  I rarely see anyone at the weekends because they are busy with their families and friends, and I don't feel as though I am included.  Maybe that is why I feel the 'loss' of the forums as well.  They were my social contact from my isolation.

The other problem with the potential job loss is, where would I ever get another job?  Who would want to employ someone with Stage IV breast cancer?